To lie or keep in hiding, as for some evil reason.  To move or go in a mean, stealthy manner.
ISSN: 1527-814X Wednesday November 8, 2000

WebSkulker Newsletter
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Skulking through past issues

WebSkulker has mentioned sites about robots, and here is another one: "The main aim of the CAM-Brain Project is to build/grow/evolve an artificial brain by 2003 with a billion artificial neurons.... This brain will be used to control the behaviors of a kitten robot that is called in Japanese 'Robokoneko' (= robot child cat)." 


Our last issue mentioned a toll-free phone number you can call to hear a duck quack: 1-800-888-3999, menu option 7.  It would, of course, be better if you could hear a cat meow, but a duck is better than nothing.  Jr. Skulker Randy Solton sent us a link to an article explaining the duck.  Randy has the nerve to say that it isn't even a real duck.  What do you think? 


"Strong Numbers is a revolutionary price guide. We calculate values for a wide variety of items based on prices from over 5 million online auctions each week. If you need to know what something is worth, check with us first." 


WebSkulker has mentioned the free film developing service at  One serious problem with SnapFish is that they only handle 35mm film, not APS, yet APS cameras are quite popular.  ClubPhoto is a similar service, but they develop APS as well as 35mm.  ClubPhoto has a $1 charge instead of free which isn't any big deal, but this is deceptive.  SnapFish not only develops your film into negatives, but sends you a set of prints free.  ClubPhoto for your $1 only does the negatives and an index print; you need to buy the prints separately.  Both services scan the negatives and put them into online picture albums for free.


WebSkulker has mentioned various sites that can send you information on request via email or SMS messages to cell phones.  Here are three more of them.  The first two are strictly email activated:  you send specially formatted messages to their email address requesting information, and they respond a few seconds later with the results.  These can be useful when you have access to email, but not the web.  Some cell phones and pagers, for example, can send and receive email.  You might find a public terminal somewhere or a dedicated device that can do email, but not the web.

The third site works by sending SMS messages to cell phones with the information you request.  Jr. Skulker Michael Cohen submitted the second and third links.

Skulking will never be obsolete

Jr. Skulker John Tracy McGrath told us about this site which "charts the development of electronic musical instruments from 1870 to 1990. For the purposes of this project electronic musical instruments are defined as instruments that synthesize sounds from an electronic source. The main focus of the site is on instruments developed from the beginning of the century until the 1960's."

WebSkulker likes the timeline at the above link, but has has a severe criticism of the page you get if you hit the "Introduction" button.  That page calls anything that used electricity to generate sound in any way "electronic", whereas the word should only be used for vacuum tube and transistor technology.  It totally ignores the era of discrete transistor devices and calls everything post-vacuum tube "integrated circuits".  Nevertheless, it is fun to look at the pictures and descriptions.

When will the next skulkmobile arrive?

This is one of those sites that is only useful to a tiny fraction of you jr. skulkers at this time, but talks about future technology that most of you might use.  The San Francisco Municipal Railway, which is the San Francisco city agency that runs the buses and streetcars, recently installed a GPS-based system in many of their buses and streetcars.  A lot of bus systems are installing this kind of thing, partly for management information because the GPS receiver on the bus transmits its location to headquarters so management knows where the buses are at all times, partly to automate bus stop calling because a lot of these machines can announce the name of the next stop over the P.A. system automatically, and partly to tell waiting passengers when the next bus will arrive.

WebSkulker has seen some bus stops in San Francisco that have an LED display with the brand name "NextBus" and flashing how many minutes until the next bus will arrive.  (Jr. Skulker Michael Cohen mentioned seeing such a system in Japan a while back, which may or may not be this same brand.)  The NextBus web site lets you look at this information in real time for several bus and streetcar lines.  The first time you go to the site, read the welcome message and then press the black button saying "View Another Arrival".  A cookie will be set to bypass the welcome message on future visits.

You can select a bus line and stop location to see when the next couple of buses or streetcars will arrive.  Press the link "live map" to bring up a map of San Francisco showing where all the vehicles are right now on these routes.

Skulking is a warped hobby

Jr. Skulker Chris Bernay sent us this page today.  Under normal circumstances it would be a little late for this sort of thing, but this year's presidential election is so weird that this still works.

This made WebSkulker laugh

Submitted by Jr. Skulker Chris Bernay.  This one is also late, but still works today.

Transcript of the Third Presidential Debate 

Jim Lehrer: Welcome to the third presidential debate between Vice President Al Gore and Gov. George W. Bush. The candidates have agreed on these rules: I will ask a question. The candidate will ignore the question and deliver rehearsed remarks designed to appeal to undecided women voters. 

The opponent will then have one minute to respond by trying to frighten senior citizens into voting for him. When a speaker's time has expired, I will whimper softly while he continues to spew incomprehensible statistics for three more minutes. 

Let's start with the vice president. Mr. Gore, can you give us the name of a downtrodden citizen and then tell us his or her story in a way that strains the bounds of common sense? 

Gore: As I was saying to Tipper last night after we tenderly made love the way we have so often during the 30 years of our rock-solid marriage, the downtrodden have a clear choice in this election. My opponent wants to cut taxes for the richest 1 percent of Americans. I, on the other hand, want to put the richest 1 percent in an ironclad lockbox so they can't hurt old people like Roberta Frampinhamper, who is here tonight. Mrs. Frampinhamper has been selling her internal organs, one by one, to pay for gas so that she can travel to these debates and personify problems for me. Also, her poodle has arthritis. 

Jim Lehrer: Gov. Bush, your rebuttal. 

Bush: Governors are on the front lines every day, hugging people, crying with them, relieving suffering anywhere a photo opportunity exists. I want to empower those crying people to make their own decisions, unlike my opponent, whose mother is not Barbara Bush. 

Jim Lehrer: Let's turn to foreign affairs. Gov. Bush, if Slobodan Milosevic were to launch a bid to return to power in Yugoslavia, would you be able to pronounce his name? 

Bush: The current administration had eight years to deal with that guy and didn't get it done. If I'm elected, the first thing I would do about that guy is have Dick Cheney confer with our allies. And then Dick would present me several options for dealing with that guy. And then Dick would tell me which one to choose. You know, as governor of Texas, I have to make tough foreign policy decisions every day about how we're going to deal with New Mexico. 

Jim Lehrer: Mr. Gore, your rebuttal. 

Gore: Foreign policy is something I've always been keenly interested in. I served my country in Vietnam. I had an uncle who was a victim of poison gas in World War I. I myself lost a leg in the Franco-Prussian War. And when that war was over, I came home and tenderly made love to Tipper in a way that any undecided woman voter would find romantic. If I'm entrusted with the office of president, I pledge to deal knowledgeably with any threat, foreign or domestic, by putting it in an ironclad lockbox. Because the American people deserve a president who can comfort them with simple metaphors. 

Jim Lehrer: Vice President Gore, how would you reform the Social Security system? 

Gore: It's a vital issue, Jim. That's why Joe Lieberman and I have proposed changing the laws of mathematics to allow us to give $50,000 to every seniorcitizen without having it cost the federal treasury a single penny until the year 2250. In addition, my budget commits $60 trillion over the next 10 years to guarantee that all senior citizens can have drugs delivered free to their homes every Monday by a federal employee who will also help them with the child-proof cap. 

Jim Lehrer: Gov. Bush? 

Bush: That's fuzzy math. I know, because as governor of Texas, I have to do math every day. I have to add up the numbers and decide whether I'm going to fill potholes out on Rt. 36 east of Abalone or commit funds to reproof the sheep barn at the Texas state fairgrounds. 

Jim Lehrer: It's time for closing statements. 

Gore: I'm my own man. I may not be the most exciting politician, but I will fight for the working families of America, in addition to turning the White House into a lusty pit of marital love for Tipper and me. 

Bush: It's time to put aside the partisanship of the past by electing no one but Republicans. 

Jim Lehrer: Good night.


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